GSD W/ Kids - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-31-2010, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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GSD W/ Kids

Hi Everyone...

My wife and I have been really looking onto a GSD for our house. We plan on getting one after 8 weeks and begin as much training as we can devote, but our questions is with Kids????

In the next 2-3 years we would like to start having kids and we want a GSD that would love our child and protect him. But my question is, when is the right time to get the dog??

Should I get the dog 1-2 years before the baby so he matures or should i get it after the baby.

I would prefer the dog in the next six months but i just dont know what is best for my family...

I know alot has to do with temperment and what type of GSD i should be getting... any reccomendations??

Thanks for all your responses this forum is AWESOME!!!!
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-31-2010, 01:47 PM
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We got my lab before my son was born, and our GSD after. It worked fine both ways. Children take up a substantial amount of time that never ends, and puppies up to the first year are quite demanding. It really depends on your schedules and willingness to work through the ups and downs. A pup may be jealous of a new baby, or not only time will tell that. My lab loved my son even though he got less of our time, but most dogs will go through some sort of adjustment faze where they feel a little put off. All dogs need to be supervised around small children and the older the dog the more trained it is if you have put that time in. So I may get the dog now and then start a family, but that is up to you
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-31-2010, 01:50 PM
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You know, it all depends on your lifestyle and the amount of spare time you have. If you are outdoorsy active types, then you might want a higher drive dog to keep up with you. If you are couch potatoes, then you are going to want a low drive couch potato.

If you have good dog training experience, then getting a puppy a couple of years prior babies is a good bet. That way you have all the housebreaking, teething, and destruction out of the way before the kids arrive.

If you don't have good dog training experience and want kids, I would suggest going through a rescue and getting an adult dog that is known to be good with kids, has all the housebreaking done, and you can pick the energy level appropriate to your life style. Again, get the dog ahead of time so you have time to bond and get everything settled as once those kids arrive the dog tends to get shoved into the background for several years.

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-31-2010, 02:00 PM
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I would say get the puppy before. My husband and I are also planning on having kids in the future. I'm glad we got Brody before that. He is 7 months old now and by the time we do have kids, he will be through all of his basic training and most of his puppy stage. We let the neighbors kids play with him whenever they are outside. Those kids are the apple of his eye. He LOVES them. Good luck!

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-31-2010, 02:00 PM
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Dogs don't get shoved to the background for several years after you have children,lol Mine still get all the walks and pets they always have, go everywhere with us, and are not emotionally neglected just because we have tiny feet scampering around the house. It's a juggling match to fit everything in because kids do demand and require tons of time and attention, and yes there will be times you have to push a walk back or cut it short because someone peed their pants, got a boo boo, or needs a nap. With two adults though it's not hard to say I clean poop you take dog or vice versa. Your wife just needs to be as dedicated to the idea of a dog as you are and an older dog is not a bad idea though good luck finding a rescue that will adopt to you knowing you guys want to start a family soon. Most want children to be around 8-10 and many will worry you will return the dog after the shock of a screaming new born sets in. Again most dogs are great with kids when raised AROUND them from a YOUNG age because it shapes their idea of kids and becomes part of their normal environment.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-31-2010, 02:00 PM
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Dogs are a crapshoot. They just are. Even within the same exact litter, puppies will vary like night and day. There's no guarantee when you get a dog, what they will end up like. Even as a pup, you have no clue what you're getting. Between 8 weeks and 3 years, the dog will undergo some pretty dramatic changes in personality. Even the best judge of dogs has been surprised at how a pup turned out as an adult.

Older dogs are obviously less of a gamble, especially if they're over a year old. You have more of a feel for their personality and temperament.

No matter when you get the dog, and what the dog's personality ends up being like, you will have to supervise child and dog until the kid is five or six years old, at least. Kids, and dogs, do crazy, unpredictable things. Either or both can be injured, without any malice being involved. Accidents happen.

I'm sure when you say you want a GSD to protect and love your children, you mean a nice family pet. If you're actually hoping for a PPD, I can tell you that PPDs and kids are not generally a very good mix, and a PPD and a young child shouldn't be left alone unattended, ever. PPDs are not family dogs, and 99.999% of people neither need a PPD, nor are capable of altering their lifestyle to accommodate one. Especially families with children.

Normally I wouldn't comment on the protective remark, but I just wandered over from the "when will my dog become protective and begin attacking people who walk through the door", I just want to address any misconceptions up front. People often have this view of every German Shepherd being Rin Tin Tin, without realizing the reality of the breed, and dogs in general. Dogs are not naturally "protective". Those that appear to be protective, are, in reality, often resource guarding, and are as much a threat to their owners as they are a stranger. Protection training is long, involved, and very few dogs are suited for it. Of those that are, even fewer are social dogs that would fit well within a family environment.

[/tangent]

In my own case, I waited until my son was four before we got another dog.
Prior to that, there was no way that I could manage working, parenting and training a high-drive working dog. Obviously, the last factor is variable. I intentionally sought out a working line GSD, with the intent of being actively involved in sport. I was not getting a family pet. However, consider how much free time you do have in your day.

Do you only have a few hours in the evening after work?
How much will you want to spend with your family? Will that impede exercise and training for the dog? Will your wife work, or stay home, after she has a kid? If both of you are going to be working, the kid is coming home from daycare, etc, a dog might not be a good mix for you until the kid is much older. The demands of parenting an infant/toddler/preschooler may not leave much time for dog ownership.

Ultimately, no matter what a dog ends up like, you can manage it.
Whether you're willing to do what that takes, is another story.
If the dog ends up not doing well around children, will you have the time and dedication to control 100% of their interactions, or keep them apart 100% of the time, while still making sure that the dog gets adequate exercise?

You're just planning your family. What does your career look like? Are you established in a career, or just starting out? Is a move for career purposes likely? Do you own your home? Is the house you live in now big enough for the family you're planning, or might you be likely to move? Do you like the schools there, or will you potentially move to a better school district? These are things to consider.

These are questions to ask yourself. The answers determine when, or if, you should get a dog.

My personal advice is, if after asking yourself the above questions, you're still going to get a dog, either get a dog now, so that it is older when you have the kids, or wait until the kids are a couple of years old, and adopt an older dog, or search out a breeder who breeds companion GSDs.


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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-31-2010, 08:30 PM
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Well, King, our GSD was 14 weeks old when my youngest was born and my oldest was 3 years old. King was an absolute fantastic dog with my kids but he needed some attention and training too. He was their protector, playmate and friend. You must be able to spend some time training him ... that is a must!!

Since kids are 2-3 years away, I'd say get one now and start training the dog and have him be around kids of all ages, especially young ones. Kids will climb on the dog, be face-to-face, etc... and the dog must be of good temperament and used to what kids will bring.

Good luck in your decision.

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RIP: King #2 - 11 1/2 yr old black GSD (1997-2008)
RIP: King #1 - 3 yr old GSD/Coyote mix (1993-1996)
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-31-2010, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisP View Post
Since kids are 2-3 years away, I'd say get one now and start training the dog and have him be around kids of all ages, especially young ones. Kids will climb on the dog, be face-to-face, etc... and the dog must be of good temperament and used to what kids will bring.
Good luck in your decision.
This needs repeating.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 01:40 PM
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Edit to add: Thats my sammy, he's now just over 8 months, and just over 90 lbs. I wonder why he's so big!? Well behaved, I try to get him around youngsters as much as possible. This kid has never met my dog and this is the first meeting.


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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 02:04 PM
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We got our dog before having children. Sigurd is almost 2 years, we plan to have children by the time he's 5 years of age. If I get pregnant now, at the 2 years age, I think that would still be better than an 8 week old pup. I like the idea that he will be out of the "puppy" stage and be trained to where I feel comfortable. I've socialized him like crazy with children, babies, etc. I think he will be a great protector and friend to my future children. He gets along so wonderfully with my familys little ones. On Christmas he met a 4 week old baby for the first time (he's met ~4 month olds and beyond up close), he gave it the most gentle, loving kisses you could imagine.

I couldn't imagine having a baby AND trying to raise a puppy though all the training and silly stages.


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